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Title: Moving beyond their mandates? : how international organizations are responding to climate change
Author: Hall, Nina W. T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 4112
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) are given mandates by states to perform particular tasks: from refugee protection to the management of migration to promoting development. As new global challenges arise, such as climate change, these organisations must decide whether to ignore them or change in response. But what drives inter-governmental organisations to move beyond their mandates, if it is not their member states? International Relations offers a limited account of if and how they will respond to new issue areas. Principal-agent theory treats IGOs as units with fixed preferences to expand and maximise their tasks and scope (Hawkins et al. 2006; Nielson and Tierney 2003; Pollack 2003). Meanwhile, sociological institutionalism argues that IOs are driven by a logic of appropriateness and staff will only support expansion if it fits coherently with their organisational identity and culture (Barnett and Coleman 2005). I build on these two theories and propose that IGO behaviour should be explained by organisational type. IGOs exist along a spectrum from normative to functional ideal-types. Normative IGOs have supervisory status over a body of international law, seek moral legitimacy and follow a logic of appropriateness. Functional IGOs are projectised organisations which seek pragmatic legitimacy and adopt a logic of consequences. I illustrate how IGO type interacts with the status of the new issue area to determine the timing, nature and extent of organisational change. I focus on the responses to climate change of three inter-governmental organisations: the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, a normative organisation; the International Organisation for Migration, a functional organisation; and the United Nations Development Programme, a hybrid organisation. IGO type has important implications for IR scholars and policy-makers as we look to these institutions to provide global solutions to global issues such as climate change, migration, refugees and development.
Supervisor: Betts, Alexander; Snidal, Duncan Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Disaster-induced displacement and resettlement ; Emergencies and humanitarian assistance ; Human development ; Climate systems and policy ; International studies ; international organisations ; international relations ; climate change ; development ; displacement